With Wide VSO Support, Chairman Takano & Ranking Member Bost’s VA VACCINE Act Heads to the House Floor
Jenni Geurink (Takano) | 202-819-4684
Samantha Gonzalez (Bost) | 202-225-3527
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and Ranking Member Mike Bost (R-Ill.) released the following statements before H.R. 1276, the Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans’ and Caregivers’ COVID-19 Immunizations Now Expanded Act of 2021or the VA VACCINE Act comes up for a vote in the House of Representatives. This bipartisan bill expands VA’s authority to provide COVID-19 vaccines to all veterans and their caregivers. Within a week of introduction, Takano and Bost’s bill earned the support of 39 additional cosponsors—including all 28 Members of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. So far, H.R. 1276 has the support of eight Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) including Paralyzed Veterans of America, Minority Veterans of America, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, The American Legion, Wounded Warrior Project, and AMVETS.
“If we want to defeat this pandemic, we must vaccinate as many Americans as possible—and do it quickly. At our legislative presentations last week, it was clear that the VSO community is behind our critical fix to ensure VA has the authority to vaccinate all veterans and caregivers who walk through its doors,” said Chairman Takano. “I’m so glad to see our bipartisan VA VACCINE Act head to the House floor today. VA should not have to turn away any veteran, regardless of whether they’re enrolled in or eligible for other VA healthcare services—with 39 cosponsors and the support of 8 VSOs, our bill will make sure VA won’t have to. ”
“I am grateful for the strong VSO support for the VA VACCINE Act,” said Ranking Member Bost. “Helping more veterans and their caregivers get vaccinated will save lives and help put this pandemic in the rear view mirror. VSOs know that. I look forward to sending the bill to the Senate this evening and hope it can be signed into law before the week is up. Veterans deserve no less.”
The VA VACCINE Act will expand VA’s authority so they can provide vaccines to:
- Veterans who are not currently enrolled in VA’s healthcare system, including veterans without compensable service-connected disabilities and veterans who have incomes above VA’s threshold;
- Caregivers of veterans who are enrolled in various VA home-based and long-term care programs; and
- Veterans living abroad who rely on the Foreign Medical Program (including those who reside in the Philippines).
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